*Updated for 2016*
The holiday season is so incredible here on the Central Coast of California. Our weather is still mild so we find so many great outdoor activities, plus plenty of great indoor fun too. There are activities for any family: parades, light displays, performing arts, arts & crafts, drive-thru nativities, museums, animals and so much more. Take a look through this list and then save the date!
If I’ve forgotten one that you love, please comment below and I’ll get it added!
Christmas Events on the California Central Coast
Sunday, Nov 27
Arroyo Grande Christmas Parade, Arroyo Grande Village, 5:00 pm. Also enjoy a live nativity and tree lighting at Harvest Church in the Village at 6:00 pm. Plus come see the Grace Bible Church’s Children’s Choir kick off the evening and sing at 3:30 at the Rotary Bandstand.
Friday, December 2
Pismo Beach Holiday Harmony and Tree Lighting – 5:30 – 7:30: children’s activities, snow, photos with Santa, bounce house, tree lighting and more. Pismo Beach Pier
Holiday Lighting Ceremony: 6 – 7:30 – music, tree lighting, appearance by Santa and more. Sunken Gardens in Atascadero
San Luis Obispo Holiday Parade: 7 – 9 pm
Saturday Dec 3
Babes in Toyland Ballet: 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. Saturday 12/3 or 3:00 Sun 12/4. Coastal Chamber Youth Ballet. Clark Center for the Performing Arts, Arroyo Grande
Free Admission to San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum: 10 – 5pm – Just bring a new, unwrapped toy per admission
Grover Beach Holiday Parade: 10am: 16th St to Ramona Gardens, Grover Beach
Paso Robles Christmas Light Parade: 7:00 pm City Park
Musical Holiday Walk around Atascadero Lake – 5:30 – 9pm: Enjoy music, choirs, high school bands, holiday decorations and refreshments as everyone enjoy the season with a walk around the lake. BBQ provide by the City of Atascadero
Friday, Dec 9
Winter Wonderland at Sunken Gardens, Atascadero
5 – 9 pm
Fresh snowslides, live music, dozens of food and craft vendors, Christmas characters, bounce houses, and pony rides!
Saturday, Dec 10
Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade: 6:30 pm – Watch from anywhere on the Embarcadero
Cayucos Christmas Open House – lots of activities hosted by different businesses including carriage rides and photos with Santa.
Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Vine Street in Paso Robles Between 8th and 21st Streets
PasoRoblesDowntown.org says “Bring the whole family to Vine Street for this annual community Christmas party tradition. Ebenezer Scrooge, the Snow Queen, Mr. & Mrs. Clause and the whole crew will be on-hand on Vine Street. Community caroling, illuminated floats, entertainers, community open houses, live music, cotton candy, free cookies and hot chocolate” it’s fun, friends and festivities! Don’t miss this sure-to-please holiday mainstay in Paso Robles!”
It’s been a few years since my family has gone to this event but when we have, we’ve LOVED it! My kids especially love the lights and free hot chocolate that they get to enjoy while walking down the street. Bundle up and avoid strollers if possible – it’s crowded!
Saturday, Dec 10 & Sunday Dec 11:
The Gift-a Drive-Thru Nativity Experience at Oak Park Christian Church
386 N Oak Park Blvd, Grover Beach
6 pm – 8 pm
This, over 20 year tradition, brings to life the story of Christmas featuring ˜live’ actors, and traditional animals to create a living environment to animate the story of Christ through 15 scenes that tell the story of Jesus. A CD is provided with a scene by scene narrative for your experience. This event is FREE!
Saturday, Dec. 17
Holiday Magic at the Zoo at Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero
11 am – 2pm
From VisitSanLuisObispoCounty.com, “Watch animals investigate and tear open homemade packages of every shape and size, delivered by Santa and his elves. During the festivities children will have the opportunity to make a craft to take home and don’t forget to browse our Gift Shop for gift ideas of your own! There will be hot chocolate available to enjoy while you see all of the holiday fun!
Annual Victoria Teddy Bear Tea
Paso Robles Park Ballroom
2 – 4pm
Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Elves, the Snow Queen and King. Entertainment and refreshments. Tickets include a commemorative tea cup and saucer.
Cost: $7 child; $15 adult
Cambria Christmas Market
November 25 – December 23: Open nightly (except for Nov 28-29 and Dec 5-6, when they are closed)., 5pm to 9pm at Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, $5 – $15 Admission depending on day.
Cambria Pines Lodge decorates their property with the most incredible light displays you will ever seen! You get to walk to various scenes and light displays. The colors are breathtaking. Santa is also there to meet with the kids. It’s well worth the trip to Cambria!
Arroyo Grande Village Santa & Christmas in the Village
ArroyoGrandeVillage.org says “During the month of December, enjoy fairyland of lights throughout the Village every night. Santa will be in the Village from now to Christmas; 3 to 5:30 on Wednesday and Friday and 12 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday.”
This is the BEST Santa around in my opinion! On a warm day, he’ll dress Hawaiian style! But on a cool day, he’s very authentic!
Christmas at Hearst Castle
Enjoy the holiday decorations and two 18 ft Christmas trees at Heart Castle, Dec 1 – 31. Reservations are encouraged. Hearst Castle, Highway 1, San Simeon. $12 to $24. 800-444-4445 or http://hearstcastle.org
Santa’s House in the San Luis Obispo Mission Plazza
Nov 26 – Dec 24
Every child receives a candy cane and coloring book for no charge! Photos are $5 and up.
Classic Carousel in Mission Plaza
Nov 26 – Dec 24
Admission: $3 – $10
Great American Melodrama’s Annual Holiday Extravaganza – enjoy a performance of”A Christmas Carol,” the hilarious “fractured fairytale opera” and finally the “Holiday Vaudeville Revue,” with funny skits and favorite holiday songs. Get tickets & dates/times HERE.
If you know of more great local holiday events, tell us about them in the comments below and I’ll add them!
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